So this is me, Sam. But you already know that. Some of you also know that "Sam" isn't even really my name. It's the name I go by and have all of my life, but it's not the name on my birth certificate. The official moniker given me upon the occasion of my birth is "Sandra Faye Hurley". My father filled out the paperwork y'see and he wanted me to have a quote unquote 'normal' name.
My mother wanted to name me Samantha Lynette. Lynette is her middle name and it have been passed along to me. I don't know why she chose Samantha. It was not a common name at the time. My guess is that she read it in a book somewhere and took a shine to it. Regardless of her intention, my official name remains, Sandra and not Samantha. All fine and good. There is really nothing whatsoever wrong with the name Sandra except that it's not me. I've been called Sam as long as I can recall. I even have some baby pictures with my name on the back, "Sam - 6 months" things such as that. So I suppose, in a way, my mother won that round.
However, whenever I am introduced to someone as Sam, they generally respond with, "is that for Samantha"? It's such a rediculous story to recount, time after time after time, that sometimes I just say, "yes". It's not true but it almost was. Other times, depending on how cheeky I'm feeling that day, I might respond with a teasing, "Could be". Which, strictly speaking, isn't a lie. I'm just saying that there are a lot of people out there in the world who mistakenly believe that my actual real name is Samantha, and it's not. I'm just setting the record straight here.
I know that around the time that I was born, Sandra Dee, the actress, was kind of a big deal. That may be where my Dad got the idea but I don't know that for a fact. I do know that growing up there were a lot of other Sandra's in my classrooms. There were also a lot of Katherines - my guess would be Katherine Hepburn as the inspiration. The name Elizabeth was pretty popular too. As was Elizabeth Taylor. Coincidence? I don't think so.
But there were also quite a few Rebecca's and Mary's although it was generally Mary something. Such as, Mary Beth, Mary Anne, Mary Francis. And both names were required to be spoken each time. Even if it was just to differentiate between all the various Mary's.
So basically, almost every girl I knew growing up had either the name of a famous performer or a name out of the bible. And then there was me. "Sam". Of course in Elementary school teachers insisted upon calling people their given names. It was never Tom, it was Thomas. Andy was forever Andrew and Wilbur could never hide behind just Will. So for my elementary career I was Sandra. Any of the other kids who cared to, assumed I was Sandy. I was not and tried to tell them so. A few of them refused to call me a "boy's name" and at least one of them tattled on my to the teacher who gave me a good scolding. Sigh.
But once I reached Junior High, or Middle School as it's now called, I had the confidence to politely correct any adult who mistakenly called me anything but Sam. Most of them were cool with it. And so we come 'round to today where fully grown adults have name like, "Sunshine" and "Moonbeam" thanks to the hippydippy days of yore. Nowadys, nobody bats an eye at an unusual name. And in fact, unusual names are now the usual. When was the last time you heard of a newborn babygirl named, Mary?
My own kids have unusual names. I actually didn't name them, their father did. And while it was on the cusp of a more acceptable time for unusual names, they still struggled a little bit in the world initially. Often people mispronounced their names. Whether it was intentional of not, I do not know but poor Hurley was called Harley for years and by people who should have known better, like teachers and coaches. Corbin was often mistaken for Corey and oddly, Darwin, and he would patiently, endless correct them. But I think Thatcher had it the worst. Thaddeus, Fletcher and oddly Patrick were the names people most often called him. At one point he just referred to himself as "T". Just the letter, "T". Maybe he thought that would be harder for people to get wrong. But it just led to them asking what "T" stood for and the circle goes 'round and 'round.
While I would never criticize the name a parent chooses for their child outwardly, on the inside sometimes I shudder just a little bit when I hear that someone has decided to name their children something very different, like, "Moxie CrimeFighter". That is the daughter of magician, Penn Gillette. I'm sure she is a lovely girl and perhaps she likes how unusual her name is. But I also think that she is going to spend a great deal of her life, "explaining" her name.
The same thing happens with children who are given seemingly regular names but with unusual spellings: SanDee, Aimee, EmmaLee, Carleigh, Konner, Jaycob, Ean, Zoie, Jordyn, Alexzander, Xzavier, Maddison...... Every one of those people will spend a ridiculous portion of their lives spelling their names to people. And that's fine. Parents just need keep in mind what that child will be facing somewhere down the line.
The first printing company that Tim and I went to, when we wanted our wedding announcement cards made up, refused the order. Why? Because since it was just an announcement and not an invitation and it was from us and not our parents, the cards read, 'Tim and Sam Humphreys announce their marriage...' not Timothy and Sandra. I was dumbfounded that they would refuse the order. "Why?" I asked. "They didn't approve of such things". It took me a few minutes to realize what the heck they were talking about. Finally the light dawned and I was furious, "In the first place, how dare you judge anyone? How is it your job to decide what is or isn't right? In the second place, I happen to be the Sam in this announcement so your assumption is wrong twice" Once they realized that I was serious and that I was indeed the "Sam" in the equation they decided that they could indeed print the announcements after all. Then I was the one who refused them. Big Nope. The second printer didn't care if we were people or sheep and the announcements were printed with no further ruckus.
I am 100% for having the freedom to name your child whatever you wish. Spell it however you like to: from Michelle to M'sh'l (seriously), name them whatever you wish: Fifi Trixiebell Geldof and Hello Baby Darling come immediately to mind.
Whatever you name your child, they are stuck with that for a lifetime. Regardless of what name they decide upon, that parent is going to be yelling that name out the back door when it's time for dinner for a long time. The parent is going to be writing that name onto school forms, and tax forms and medical paperwork for many, many years to come. And without question, they are going to explaining and spelling that name until the child is old enough to do it for themselves.
Our names are our very first identity.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.